Sephora, the beauty retailer, created significant buzz around its expanding influencer roster by directly involving the followers of these online mavens in the recruitment process.

Emeline Berlind, Sephora’s vp/content strategy, discussed its novel approach to bolstering the “#SephoraSquad” of influencers at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2019 Digital and Social Media Conference.

“Our goal was to create the most diverse, powerful group of influencers in beauty … And we did that by engaging with our audience,” she said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Sephora sparks engagement by crowdsourcing its influencer selection.)

In doing so, Sephora asked influencers to apply directly to participate in this contest, with 24 spots up for grabs. “And, then, once they applied, we asked them to submit testimonials from their followers,” said Berlind.

“The thinking was if they were able to really get these true, authentic reactions from their followers, that would really mean they had this great connection with them.”

The beauty brand received thousands of applications for the 24 spots. Hundreds of thousands of testimonials from their followers then flowed in over the course of two months. “Then we got even more after the semi-finalists were announced,” Berlind said.

Moreover, the competition attracted national media attention in publications such as Allure magazine, Fast Company, Forbes, and multiple online beauty sites, too.

And the “#SephoraSquad” label also generated substantial buzz within the cosmetics and beauty influencer community, despite the massive applicant pool reducing the odds of being selected to a very low level.

The audience size of the final 24 influencers varied widely, with some having only a few-thousand followers. But, Berlind said, Sephora wasn’t focused on a set number of fans, as it used a different metric intended to determine enthusiasm.

“How we chose them was we looked at the number of testimonials they received in relationship to their following size,” she said.

Diversity was important, too, Berlind added, as the brand wants to represent “all the different types of clients that come into our stores every day, so they can feel like they can be heard and understood in the talent they see showcased.”

Sourced from WARC